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Page last updated at 09:46 GMT, Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Personal debt soars in the UK

By Tina Daheley
1Xtra reporter

Credit card and loan debt is now thought to be around 1,400 bn - that's around 23,000 for every adult and child in the UK.

Shopping bags
Debt expert Chris Tapp says some TV shows encourage credit cards

Twenty-eight-year old Lindsey from Leeds has four different store cards and a credit card. She kept forgetting to pay them off each month.

She said: "My biggest mistake was a pair of earrings. They cost 4 but I ended up paying 80 for them."

Lindsay says it hit home when she realised the earrings cost her 20 times the price tag because the interest kept adding up.

Chris Tapp, from the charity Credit Action, says part of the problem is down to people watching shows like Sex and the City, where the credit card is seen as essential to a good life.

'Catalogue addiction'

"We grow up expecting to get a credit card or store card at the age of 18. It's almost become a right," he said.
Credit cards
A credit or store card has rates of between 15 and 30%

A year after she was able to get credit, 19-year-old Abi had racked up 5,000 of debt. She describes it as "a catalogue addiction."

Abi also has two pay-day loans. She said: "One of them I took out for my dog because I fell in love with her.

"I didn't have any money as it was the middle of the month, so I took out a payday loan for around 150."

1,250% interest

"It's the worst thing you can do, you apply online, you give them your details and they'll put 100 into your account.

"The interest works out at about 1,250%."

Card and loan deals talk about APR (Annual Percentage Rate).

It's meant to make it easier to compare different loan and credit card offers. The rate on a typical credit or store card can be anywhere between 15 and 30%.

"And obviously if you can't pay it back in a month, you pay back the interest the next month and people get trapped every single month by rolling it over," said Abi.

Abi is finally keeping track of her money by noting down everything she spends in a diary.



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